City of Derby Writing Competition 2009

Weird business going in for short story competitions. On the one hand, there are some that I regularly enter where I’ve never had a sniff of the longlist, let alone a prize. And on the other hand, there’s City of Derby. Last year, when it was judged by Alex Keegan, I came joint second. This year, when it was judged by Sara Maitland, I came third. To say that I’m gobsmacked is something of an understatement.

Anyway, Mrs P, daughter P and I went to Derby on Friday for the award ceremony and a good time was had by all. Sara Maitland was an outspoken and generous judge with an obvious passion for the short story form. Last year we didn’t get to read any of our work, so I was a little surprised to be asked to read an extract and talk about it. I usually quite like reading my stuff out, but I think I rambled a bit this time. Actually, I rambled a lot. But the audience laughed once or twice, and on at least one occasion in the right place. And the winning story, Kite, by Gaby Pritchard, was very very good indeed.

I am also now in the possession of a signed copy of Sara Maitland’s book “Far North and other Dark Tales” with the word “CONGRATULATIONS” all over it. Which is worth more than any cheque really. I’ve only had time to read the first couple of stories in it and they are rather wonderful. Looking forward to reading more of her stuff.

Here’s the link to the winning stories. Obviously I’d like you to take a look at mine, but have a peek at the others as well. Especially the winner. It is quite special.

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